Friday Favs

Friday Favs

One of my favorite topics to discuss, as I have said before in past blog posts, is minimalism. I think minimalism is such a powerful concept for millennials to grasp at this stage in life. When we feel like we need more to be more, there is a problem. But minimalism offers a solution that works.

Today’s Friday Fav is The Minimalists. These guys have changed the way I view my finances, relationships, closet, and life in general. Read some of their “essays” here. I promise they will change your mindset on the things that normally stress you out. Let me know what you think!

Surviving College

Sleep Survival Tips

It’s 7:00 am. Your alarm goes off. Your half awake/half asleep body musters up enough energy to open half of one eye, lift your arm and search for your phone to stop the annoying sound it’s emitting. You’re annoyed because 1. it is early, 2. that annoying sound won’t quit, and 3. it’s early.

20-year-olds are supposed to get 8 hours of sleep a night, but frankly, sometimes that feels like a nap. Sometimes it doesn’t matter how early we get to bed, waking up can be a struggle on any given morning.

In college, or if you are working a full-time job and doing real adult things, sleep can seem like a lost commodity. Life gets busy; papers need to be written, friends need to be hung out with, movies need to be watched. I get it.

If you have never heard of a sleep debt? Well, it’s a real thing. It happens when we humans don’t get the adequate rest we need and bad stuff gets trapped in our blood or something. Sleeping literally does so much to clear our body of toxins. Read up about it, it is fascinating stuff!

In order to truly maximize your time during the day, you need to first start with your sleeping habits at night. Here are some tips to get you through this week fully rested, your body clear of toxins, and your mind operating at its highest capacity!

#1: Get off your phone.

Seriously. The tweets, pointless Facebook videos, endless scrolling through Instagram memes, they can get addicting once you climb into bed, but they are butting in on precious time your body should be resting. On average, you lose almost one hour of sleep by reaching for your phone right when you lay your head on your pillow.

I suggest unplugging yourself from any form of technology 30-45 minutes before you want to be asleep to put your eyes and mind at rest from all that the interwebs have to offer.

#2: Relax your mind and body.

There are tons of ways to relax yourself before drifting off to sleep. A few of my favorite ways to relax pinpoint different areas of my life that may be causing my brain to overwork itself.

If you are feeling overwhelmed or anxious: focus on breathing deeply and slowly, play calming instrumental music , or make a cup of chamomile tea. If your body is feeling tense or overworked, massage these specific pressure points to relieve some of the tension. One huge thing that I noticed I was doing during those nights where I couldn’t fall asleep was clenching my jaw. I read an article about how clenching my jaw was keeping my body from relaxing and falling asleep. Now if I am having a hard time falling asleep, I will check to see if I am holding tension in my jaw–most of the time I am and I don’t notice!

#3: Prepare to wake up.

This is so important! How you wake up will set the tone for your day. Set an alarm that is calming or happy–there are so many different alarm sounds to pick from on your smartphone. If you are a heavy sleeper, turn up the volume of your alarm and have it set to also vibrate while it goes off. Waking up to an obnoxious noise or annoying beep will make you wake up frustrated or freaked out when it blares. You shouldn’t wake up scared by an alarm you set for yourself. Take control over how you wake up and you’ll take control over your day!

I hope these tips help you as much as they help me! The state of mind I fall asleep and wake up with affect the way I view my day. Take care of yourself and your body will thank you.

Surviving College

Love Listens: a live blog from church

“Sunday is the most segregated day of the week,” entrepreneur Scott Williams’ voice rings out in Bush Chapel, “what MLK spoke decades ago still stands true today.”

I look around and see many, many students crammed together under one roof for this morning’s chapel service. I take note of our differences but celebrate the fact that we are all here to hear the same word–accepting the same truth in our lives.

If you don’t like diversity, you’re not going to like heaven,” Williams laughs, as the hundreds of us laugh along while nodding in agreement with him.

Breaking Barriers

Today, on a Tuesday morning at 9am, I attended the first Athletic Chapel at my university. I go to a Christian university where we are dedicated to making space for all types of people doing all kinds of things on and for our school, and today was the first chapel of the year for athletes and students to join together to learn something from every team on campus.

I’m not an athlete; I don’t understand sports talk. To be honest, I wasn’t sure if there was much I could learn from a service dedicated to athletes. But I do understand the few things we have in common and try to relate to those things.

Like the fact that just being a student in college is difficult at times. The tests, the homework, the projects, and presentations; trying to balance social life with a decent GPA. It gets tiring. Sometimes I wonder if I will survive. But it wasn’t until our campus pastor got up on stage and laid out what student athletes endure every semester until I realized I know nothing about their struggle.

“The 6am practices, the ice baths, lifting weights and physical therapy,” the campus pastor says to the crowd of students gathered together, “on top of studying for exams, taking quizzes, writing papers, attending class. Blood, sweat and tears shed and–most of the time only God is watching you.”

It struck me. I am sitting in a room full of hundreds of athletes who attend class and write papers just like I do, yet who also face a whole different struggle that I will never know.

Sometimes in our struggle, we are only seen by God.

“The things you do in secret are the most effective for the kingdom,” says one bright student athlete while sharing her devotions for offering this morning. She encouraged the athletes and non-athletes alike to seek God and do what we know is good and noble–even when no one is looking.

Even when no one is looking.

Sometimes it’s me who’s not looking while my neighbor struggles.

My responsibility and calling as a follower of Christ is to follow the great commandment, to love God with all my heart and the great commission, to love my neighbor as myself and make disciples from every nation.

“It is the great commission, not the great omission where we go out and make disciples and omit the part where it says ‘from all nations.'” Scott Williams

“How are you adding to the solution?” says Williams, “how are you going out of your way to listen to your neighbor?”

Despite what we are going through personally, love should seek first to listen before it is ever heard.

We should all be working towards the common good–even if it’s not the same cause. As Christians and fellow brothers and sisters, we are all working together to move the ball down the field for the better of our neighbor, our country, and the world.

Living Simply, Surviving College

Making Space: the (life-changing) magic of tidiness

I wanted to transition into my next phase of topics that I look forward to covering on this blog, and I thought, what better way to transition out of minimalism and living simply than to cover some thoughts and ideas on how to survive college by first starting with the basics–taking care of yourself.

As I type this, my room isn’t so much in shambles (as it can sometimes get) but there were definitely too many things on my bed which would, in turn, require too much energy of me to make space for myself on it. Bypassing that altogether I picked a nice, cozy spot on my floor (note: sarcasm).

I look around me and within a 1-foot radius, there is a pile of mugs, a gift bag, clothes, papers and a few miscellaneous items surrounding where I sit. None of these items belong where they reside on my floor at the present time. But I have too many things on my to-do list that sit above cleaning my space.

I have come to realize that my room reflects my brain. If my room is unorganized, I am unorganized. If my brain is going in a million different directions, my stuff is in a million different (wrong) places all over my tiny room.

I have always been a pretty neat and tidy person. I enjoy being able to have a place for all my things. But if there is one thing I have learned is that throughout my transitions in college, is that I am now the main person of contact in looking after myself. Sounds silly, but for a while there, we depend on our parents to keep us in line as we live under their roof, but there comes a time where we break away from the nest and venture off on our own–and we need to be there for ourselves.

I have discovered the life-changing magic of tidying up.

Like I said, I am a pretty organized person with her moments of minimal destruction, but here’s a little boost to those who may not be so neat. I present the magical formula to staying tidy! (The outcome really is magical!!!)

Here are some of the lessons I take away from being tidy (and others have taken notice of this magical feeling too!)

  1. I own my things, my things don’t own me, but I should respect the things that I own because I (or someone I love) worked hard to provide them for me!
  2. There is a right way and a wrong way to store my things–Marie Kondo believes that if you put things in a way you can easily access and view them, you will come to notice what you value and what you don’t. (There is even a specific way she instructs how to fold your clothes–you can even just simply Google it).
  3. I have come to really love the things that I have. Marie Kondo teaches you to only display things in your space that “spark joy.” Everything else goes.

Trust me. In college, there is a lot going on in your life already. Let your room (however small it may be) be a place of rest and peace and a place that reflects you.

Make your bed. Fold your clothes. Display what you love. Light a candle. Breathe.